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Finding Genius Podcast

Sep 30, 2019

Albert Presto, Associate Research Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, provides an overview of the ways our air quality is changing and what is being done to improve air quality.

As an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Presto is passionate about his work; his research focuses on important areas of science concerning pollutant emissions from energy extraction and consumption, as well as the ensuing atmospheric transformations that these types of emissions go through. Dr. Presto holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Presto discusses his background, and his work as a member of CMU's Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies. Dr. Presto explains his particular interests and some of the areas they focus their efforts upon, such as understanding how air quality impacts various environments from neighborhood to neighborhood. He explains how weather and topography play a role in pollution drift and air quality. Source activity, such as roads and highways, also obviously play a role.

Dr. Presto explains the dose-response curve. A dose–response relationship describes the significance of of an organism’s response, as a function of its exposure to stimulus or perhaps a particular stressor over a span of exposure time. These dose–response relationships are often described by dose–response curves. He explains the levels of particulate matter that exist in certain areas, such as areas of a city that may have a large amount of restaurants, because cooking is one of the activities that can increase types of emissions. Dr. Presto explains the role of the sun in changing chemistry, detailing the mechanisms related to how it can affect air quality.

And the scientific researcher discusses ways that we can work to reduce emissions. Additionally, he talks about some of the legislative bills that are being passed that relate to air quality and emissions monitoring.